Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 8)

Happy birthday to retired Chinese basketball player Wang Zhizhi! Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► The United States has surpassed 3 million coronavirus cases.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today that will finally make right-wing Republicans happy. From The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may allow employers and universities to opt out of the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide contraceptive care because of religious or moral objections.

The issue has been at the heart of an intense legal battle for nine years, first with the Obama administration sparring with religious organizations who said offering contraceptive care to their employees violated their beliefs, and then with the Trump administration broadening the exemption, angering women’s groups, health organizations and Democratic-led states.

Wednesday’s decision greatly expands the ability of employers to claim the exemption, and the government estimates that it could mean that 70,000 to 126,000 women could lose access to cost-free birth control.

And the Trump campaign wonders why female voters are abandoning him in droves.

There should be another big Supreme Court announcement on Thursday — whether or not congressional committees and a New York prosecutor should be allowed to see Trump’s personal financial records.

 

► President Trump says that any hesitancy to re-open schools in the fall is about trying to make him look bad, or something. Now he’s threatening to cut off federal aid for school districts that don’t just open up regardless of the health risks. Chris Cillizza of CNN thinks this is a bad move for Trump:

Via CNN (7/8/20)

“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons,” said Trump. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way. So we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open.”

The “why” here is simple: Trump’s poll numbers — and chances at winning a second term this fall — have taken a huge hit as the country has turned on how the President and his administration have handled the ongoing pandemic. (Trump’s job approval was at just 38% in a new Gallup poll released earlier this week.) He desperately wants to kickstart the economy and needs people to feel as though they are returning to “normal,” and getting kids back to school is, he believes, one of the best ways to do just that.

The problem is that Trump is so focused on his political imperatives that he is losing sight of the bigger picture here: Forcing — or pressuring — schools to fully reopen will jeopardize the health of teachers and could well boomerang back on him from both a public health and political perspective.

Attempting to “force” schools to open could have a cascading effect that ends up “forcing” schools to close altogether:

…if a USA Today/Ipsos poll conducted in May is any indication, plenty of teachers will walk away from the profession rather than risk their health. That survey showed that 1 in 5 teachers said they would not return to the classroom if schools reopened in the fall, a number that could well cripple any attempts to reopen schools anyway.

The reality is that school opening decisions are made by governors and local officials, not the President of the United States. And, even if schools do reopen, it’s not at all clear that enough teachers will show up to make it feasible.

Earlier this week, Florida’s Education Commissioner announced that he would require all schools to be open for in-person learning five days a week.

 

Sticking with the subject of education, international students in Colorado are facing more questions than answers about resuming classes in the fall. From The Denver Post:

International students at Colorado universities are worried about their educational futures following a new directive from federal immigration officials that would require them to change schools or leave the country should their institution revert to full online learning this fall.

The new guidance is meant to encourage schools that closed their campuses and moved online due to the pandemic to physically reopen, Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a CNN interview Tuesday.

“If they don’t reopen this semester, there isn’t a reason for a person holding a student visa to be present in the country,” Cuccinelli said. “They should go home, and they can return when the school reopens.”

Tanya Roussy, a University of Colorado Boulder graduate student from Canada who is researching physics, said Tuesday that she felt it was “pretty clear with this government that cruelty is the point.”

 

You’re going to be reading a lot about businesses that received PPP loans from the federal government now that data has been made public. The list of businesses that received loans of at least $1 million is…frustrating.

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Casper Stockham’s “Mask Burning Challenge”–Yes, Really

Republican perennial congressional candidate Casper Stockham, presently serving as the GOP’s sacrificial lamb running against longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter in suburban CD-7–not least for the paycheck he’s allowed to draw from his campaign contributions–has found his gimmick for 2020!

The “Mask Burning Challenge.” It’s just what it sounds like. Find a face mask, and instead of putting it on your face like the Deep State tells you to, burn that sucker! Paper or natural mask fibers are recommended for this demonstration of personal liberty, unless you like huffing plastic fumes. Some receptive to this message may be into that, it’s true.

And above all, pics or it didn’t happen freedom fighters:

Move over, Tide Pods! This is the now dumbest “challenge” on the internet.

As everyone even casually familiar with Casper Stockham knows, this over-the-top ridiculousness isn’t about going to Congress. Casper Stockham is never going to Congress. In fact, if Casper Stockham were to ever find himself with a serious chance of going to Congress, Republicans would intervene to stop it from happening.

But as was once famously said on the Titanic, we believe you may get your headlines Mr. Stockham.

They won’t be good headlines, but Stockham won’t know the difference.

Wednesday Open Thread

“When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”

–George Bernard Shaw

“Yosemite Samantha” Hires Crack Team Of Local Crackpots

Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports on news today from the campaign of surprise CD-3 Republican congressional nominee Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert, and Democrats who were worried Boebert’s campaign would find its professional footing after unexpectedly ousting incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton can relax, because that’s not happening:

Boebert, the restaurant owner and first-time candidate who defeated five-term U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the primary, has added lead policy advisor Kristi Burton Brown, finance director Shana Kohn Banberger and communications director Laura Carno to her team, her campaign said.

Carno told Colorado Politics that the campaign won’t have a traditional campaign manager but will instead be managed by a team…

A campaign by committee! That is the most small government-y thing we’ve heard all day.

Kristi Burton Brown, as readers know, is the young Republican activist best known for fronting the failed “Personhood” abortion ban measures in previous Colorado elections, and more recently serving as the Colorado Republican Party’s vice-chair–in which her most notable act was to file the disastrously ill-advised recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan that fell apart in disgrace last summer. Laura Carno is an unremarkable gun rights talking head out of Colorado Springs, whose glitterati days as a public face of the 2013 recalls faded into the rear view with the death of NRATV.

As for the “finance director?” Boebert will need to find some finances, yes. True that.

Although Luning gamely attempts to portray these hires as a sign of a formidable forthcoming campaign from Boebert, we’re inclined to see the opposite–a political neophyte taking terrible advice from our usual suspect crew of local losers. Let us know when the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) intervenes, because we suspect they’ll need to soon if they want to hold this once-safe seat.

Pat Neville Compares Killing Elijah McClain To Super Glue

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

Nell Salzman reports for Westword on a “debrief” webinar hosted by Colorado Christian University on the recently passed landmark legislation in Colorado tightening accountability for police who commit violent crimes of their own in the line of duty–featuring two local hard-right conservative public figures, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler and GOP House Minority Leader Pat Neville.

Neville, who was in on initial discussions of the police-reform bill, said he wouldn’t have endorsed it without certain amendments, but he ultimately supported it, as did the vast majority of the state’s legislators. Even so, the law primarily addresses a “big-city” problem, he explained, adding that many of the state’s police departments won’t be affected by it. “Most of the police forces out there are doing what’s in this bill as passed,” he said. “By and large, if there were any issues, it was usually in Denver and Aurora, places like that.”

It’s not the first time that Neville has blown the “big city” or “urban” dog whistle in order to make his point that a given problem is faced by, you know, “others.” Like Neville’s mistaken racist supposition about where COVID-19 was hitting hardest in the state, with the highest case rates actually occurring in rural and agricultural areas, Neville is wrong about where police brutality happens too. It happens everywhere.

As bad as that is, Neville managed to make it even worse:

Neville, too, said he’s bothered by the power of political pressure. Back in January, he noted, protesters interrupted the governor’s State of the State speech and the Denver district attorney decided not to prosecute them. How, he asked, is this different from not prosecuting the Aurora police officers involved in the Elijah McClain case? [Pols emphasis]

“We like to criticize Dave Young [DA for the 17th District] for not prosecuting, but then on the other hand we see when Beth McCann, a liberal DA, doesn’t prosecute people for a crime, they’re cheering that,” he said. “It’s rather disturbing.”

Minority Leader Neville is referring to a brief and nonviolent (though admittedly noisy) protest that occurred during Gov. Jared Polis’ State of the State Address back in January. A total of 33 people were arrested in that incident for chanting slogans from the gallery in opposition to human-caused climate change. The closest this came to a violent act was one individual who super glued his own hands together around the gallery railing, necessitating a stern yank from a state trooper to separate them. Because the protesters in most cases spent the night in jail for their trouble, Denver DA Beth McCann decided they had been sufficiently punished.

This is where we realize with no small amount of revulsion that the Republican leader of the Colorado House has just equated the killing of Elijah McClain by Aurora police, which has sparked nationwide controversy and helped inspire Colorado’s new law to combat police brutality, with a nonviolent political stunt pulled by a few climate activists during a political speech. Whether you’re a Black Lives Matter activist or a civil liberties-loving Rand Paul Republican, the comparison is so outrageous that it would be laughable–that is, had it not been claimed in all seriousness by one of the state’s highest ranking elected Republican officials.

All we can say is, it requires a deeply twisted view of the world for this to make any sense.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 7)

There is no coronavirus. There is no coronavirus. There is no coronavirus. [Opens eyes] Shit, there is still coronavirus. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► Experts say that we are still in the first phase of the coronavirus outbreak because we have not yet reached a point of lower infection rates — and that first phase is still raging. Melbourne, Australia (the country’s second-largest city with 5 million residents) is locking down for another six weeks in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The United States might not be far behind. As The Washington Post reports:

Hospitals across the Sun Belt continue to be inundated with coronavirus patients, with Arizona reaching 89 percent capacity for intensive care unit beds on Monday, as Alabama, California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas also reported unprecedented numbers of hospitalizations. For the 28th day in a row, the country’s rolling seven-day average of daily new cases shattered all previous records, although the number of deaths has remained relatively stable.

The United States is “still knee deep in the first wave” of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday. Unlike Europe, “we never came down to baseline and now are surging back up.”

At least 2,926,000 coronavirus cases and 127,000 deaths have been reported nationwide since February. The Trump administration hopes that Americans will grow inured to the growing death toll and accept the tens of thousands of new cases being reported each day as the new reality, three people familiar with the White House’s thinking told The Washington Post. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that even longtime Trump allies are privately admitting that people should be wearing masks everywhere they go:

Three months after reversing course and recommending masks — a move officials later conceded was confusing and awkward — top Republicans and allies of the President are only now coming to the realization that mask-wearing will be an essential element to containing a still-raging pandemic. [Pols emphasis]

White House officials are discussing taking a more active role in encouraging masks as they shift to a strategy of preparing Americans to live long-term with the virus. After appearing at a string of events without social distancing and where masks were scarce, Trump’s campaign said Sunday it would host a New Hampshire campaign rally where attendees will be “provided a face mask that they are strongly encouraged to wear.”

Yet Trump’s willingness to shift personally on the issue is far from clear. While he likened himself to the “Lone Ranger” on one of the few occasions he wore a mask in private, he has not used his powerful social media platforms to encourage his supporters to do the same. And in meetings with advisers, Trump has stated that more strenuous calls to wear masks might send the wrong message as he attempts to move on from the virus.

So, let’s see if we can parse out this logic: If we ignore the coronavirus, it will go away…which is why we can’t wear masks, because then the coronavirus would know that we aren’t really ignoring it? Don’t make eye contact with COVID-19!!!

And since we’re on the topic of ignoring the coronavirus, here’s an interesting bit of news via POLITICO:

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for Covid-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity.

Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters in capital Brasilia.

 

► President Trump seems to be dead-set on playing only to his base as he gears up for the last few months of his re-election campaign. But as Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, this makes absolutely no sense:

What Trump is doing at the moment — judging from the Gallup numbers — is running a very effective primary campaign. He is consolidating his base behind him using fear and overt racial appeals. (Trump’s tweets on Monday calling on NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace to apologize are the latest evidence of that purposeful weaponizing of race.)

The problem, of course, is that Trump doesn’t have a primary problem. He has a general election problem. And by running a primary when a general election is what’s called for, Trump is making it harder and harder for himself to ever make the turn to a more traditional general-election strategy of outreach and inclusion.

Why? Why cut off your nose to spite your face? Because Trump can’t help himself.

As for those new Gallup numbers, Trump’s approval rating is holding steady at a not-so-robust 38%.

 

Faithless electors, repent! As The Denver Post reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that states can require electors to vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote for president in the Electoral College.

The decision was made based on two cases — one in Colorado and one in Washington State.

Delivering the court’s reasoning for both cases in Chiafalo v. Washington, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that nothing in the U.S. Constitution prevents states from punishing so-called faithless electors — members of the Electoral College who don’t vote in accordance with the people of their state. Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself from the Colorado decision because of her friendship with Colorado elector Polly Baca.

 

You’re going to be reading a lot about businesses that received PPP loans from the federal government now that data has been made public. The list of businesses that received loans of at least $1 million is…frustrating.

Irony? Yeah, there’s that, too.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Appearing on Racist Podcast, Boebert Joked She’ll Jello-Wrestle Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

(Uh… – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congressional candidate Lauren Boebert joked about “jello wrestling” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an exchange with a conservative comedian who also used an ethnic slur during his introduction. Her appearance could lend credence to concerns that she isn’t prepared to be the Republican nominee for Colorado’s Third District.

On January 28, Boebert appeared on Compound Media’s “In Hot Water” show with host Geno Bisconte. The show is known for segments including “Rape of the Day,” and “Random Rape Threat Generator,” as well as a litany of racist remarks and sketches.

True to form, even before Boebert was on the line, host Bisconte joked that Boebert “wants to win the seat… and then wrestle [U.S. Rep] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in jello or pudding, and that would be fun to watch because she is a lovely woman.”

Bisconte then told his co-host that jello wrestling was “how we stay one step ahead of the Japs, who are jamming themselves into subway cars.”

Bisconte then introduced Boebert, who had clearly been listening to the host, as she embraced the jello-wrestling joke:

While the demeaning jello-wrestling wasn’t Boebert’s idea, after Bisconte made it, he asked Boebert a straightforward “tell us about your campaign” question. She chose to respond by returning to jello-wrestling.

(more…)

Tuesday Open Thread

“Sometimes a concept is baffling not because it is profound but because it is wrong.”

–E. O. Wilson

Media “Doing Everything They Can to Suppress Our Vote,” Gardner Tells GOP Activists

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner told Republican supporters last week that the “media does not want us to win” and “is going to do everything they can to suppress our vote by deflating our hopes.”

Gardner made the comments during a virtual meeting with GOP activists after last week’s primary election.

 

“We need to make sure we get this turnout to happen,” said Gardner. “We can’t let people get depressed by the media. I know I’m going to shock people. I know you have not heard this before. The media does not want us to win. And they are going to do everything they can to suppress our vote by deflating our hopes. And so, we can’t let them do that.”

(more…)

The End Is Near for the Neville Clan

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s collar grows ever tighter.

Last week’s Primary Election was an anti-climactic affair at the top of the ticket, but the rest of the ballot told a very interesting story. As we wrote last week, significant Republican Primary losses portend another GOP wipeout in Colorado come November, and the fallout could lead to the last gasps of the Neville Clan.

Rumors are growing that House Minority Leader Patrick Neville could be in danger of losing control of the GOP caucus after another poor showing at the polls last week. State Rep. Hugh McKean is now in a strong position to challenge Neville for Minority Leader after victories on Tuesday by Colin Larsen (HD-22), Tonya Van Beber (HD-48), Mike Lynch (Hd-49), and Dan Woog (HD-63) — all of whom defeated candidates backed by the Neville Clan and their close friends at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO). The Nevilles and RMGO also lost badly in SD-23, where their support of Rupert Parchment wasn’t enough to stop Barbara Kirkmeyer from cruising to a double-digit victory.

Our back-of-the-napkin math shows Neville with only seven remaining supporters among House Republicans, equal to the seven GOP House members who would likely side with McKean. Depending on how the General Election shakes out, that leaves about 8 Republican Representatives to determine the 2021-22 leadership battle. This could be a significant moment for Colorado Republicans, because a good number of their recent failures can be attributed directly to decisions made by the Neville Clan.

The Neville family have been fixtures in Colorado Republican politics for much of the last decade, beginning with State Sen. Tim “Pa” Neville’s narrow victory in Jefferson County in 2014. Tim Neville is the father of Pat Neville and GOP political consultant Joe Neville, whose consulting firm Rearden Strategic has overseen many Republican races in recent years (Tim Neville is also the brother-in-law of former Jefferson County School Board Member Julie Williams, whose brief run in Jeffco was a disaster all its own).

Sen. Cory Gardner and former state Sen. Tim Neville, circa 2015.

Tim Neville quickly rose to the top of the Republican food chain in Colorado as a conservative social issue warrior, becoming the de-facto leader of the Senate Republican caucus in the state legislature (Neville was basically the Senate President at one point) and a bonafide contender for statewide office. He looked to be on his way to becoming the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2015, and by Spring 2016 he seemed to be accumulating enough support to take the top line at the State GOP Convention.

But Tim Neville’s political demise was as swift as his ascent. Colorado Republicans held their state assembly in April 2016, and Neville completely bombed, losing to little-known Darryl Glenn by a 4-to-1 margin. Neville then turned his attention toward running for re-election to the State Senate in 2018, where he was out-worked by Democrat Tammy Story en route to a 14-point loss that contributed to Republicans losing majority control of the state senate. Neville later blamed his defeat on poor campaign strategies enacted by outside groups, which was ironic considering how his son’s strategic blunders torpedoed GOP chances around the state in that same cycle.

Tim Neville was actually preceded in the state legislature by Patrick, who was elected to the State House in 2014 and became House Minority Leader following the 2016 election. Together the Nevilles championed the causes of anti-abortion activists, gun lovers, anti-vaxxers and opponents of a functioning government. With Joe Neville overseeing the outside political operations for many Republican candidates — and with financial support from RMGO head honcho Dudley Brown — the Neville Clan kept the State Capitol stocked with loyal but questionable characters such as former State Reps. Justin Everett and Tim Leonard. You might remember Leonard as the only person in recent history to serve time in jail while a sitting member of the legislature; the Leonard debacle paved the way for Democrats to take control of what had long been a safe Republican seat in 2018.

The 2018 election cycle was a pivotal year for Colorado Republicans who were TROUNCED in races across the board — many of which were overseen by the Nevilles and/or Rearden Strategic. One particularly pathetic effort in Jefferson County exemplified the poor return on investment that 2018 candidates received from Rearden Strategic.

Pat Neville has been driving the COVID-19 Stupidity Train in recent months.

Despite those heavy losses, Neville retained enough caucus support to keep his post as Minority Leader, but the cracks were starting to show. A few months later, Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reported on grumblings about the Neville’s dubious political strategy and a generous payout structure for Rearden Strategic.

Last year, the Neville Clan followed up their poor 2018 by directing misguided efforts to raise money from gullible donors in a feeble attempt to recall multiple Democratic elected officials. Warning signs should have been apparent to the GOP after a questionable decision to go after Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan left the Nevilles and RMGO with mostly egg on their sad faces.

This time last year, we wondered again how Neville still managed to remain House Minority Leader despite a consistent record of incompetence. The 2020 legislative session didn’t help Neville’s cause, and the June Primary exposed yet another rift between Neville and Colorado Republicans — many of whom were tired of a heavy-handed approach that included Neville’s Chief of Staff, Jim Pfaff, regularly threatening other Republicans.

Colorado Republicans aren’t going to take control of the State House in 2020, and it is also unlikely that they will wrestle away the State Senate from Democrats. But if this is the year that the GOP finally rejects the influence of the Neville Clan, then perhaps Republicans can start to creep back toward relevance in 2022.

Everybody Loves Ken Salazar, Who Loves Joe Biden

Ken Salazar with former President Barack Obama.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports on a familiar face back in action with presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign on the summertime upswing:

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has named former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as a co-chair of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s Latino Leadership Committee.

Salazar, a former U.S. senator and Colorado attorney general, was an early endorser of the former vice president’s White House bid. He joins fellow Obama cabinet alum former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis heading the campaign group, the Biden campaign said…

The other Colorado members are former Denver Mayor Federico Peña, who served as secretary of energy and transportation in the Clinton administration; state Senate President Leroy Gracia, D-Pueblo; and state Rep. Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo.

Former Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado on the stump for Biden is like getting the band back together again, and naturally invites speculation about whether Salazar might be tapped to serve in President Biden’s Cabinet–at Interior or another role for which Colorado’s “senior Salazar” would be well qualified. Back in 2016, before our universe veered off on this bizarre alternate timeline in which Donald Trump is President, Salazar was picked by then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to head what would have been Clinton’s presidential transition team.

Here’s a political mulligan we think history will allow.

Supremes Crush Dreams of Colorado’s “Faithless Electors”

UPDATE: Statements from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser:

Secretary of State Jena Griswold:

“Today’s unanimous decision by the United States Supreme Court reaffirms the fundamental right to vote of every American and ensures that when we cast a vote for President of the United States, our voices will be heard. The will of a few unelected presidential electors should never supersede the will of the people, and today’s landmark decision rightly protects Americans’ right to vote and to self-governance. The fact that the Justices were unanimous in their decision further illustrates their realization that electors not bound to the will of the people needlessly opens up our entire election system to corruption and outside influence. I applaud the Court’s decision and am thankful that the Justices were willing to hear the case and make a determination in time for the 2020 General Election, which will give every voter the peace of mind that they will have say in who gets elected to be our nation’s next president.”

Attorney General Phil Weiser:

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that the States, and the States alone, have the exclusive authority to appoint and, if necessary, remove presidential electors when they violate their pledges. The Court’s historic opinion ensures that presidential electors will follow State law when they cast their Electoral College ballots in presidential elections and not act as free agents. With this issue decided before the 2020 election, we can avoid uncertainty, chaos, and confusion in the Electoral College, and protect our nation’s democratic principles and system of stable governance.”

—–

Colorado “faithless elector” Micheal Baca.

The Denver Post reports on a unanimous 9-0 smackdown delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court to Colorado’s “faithless electors,” overturning a lower court ruling that threatened chaos in the upcoming presidential elections and helping ensure that the nation’s creaky Electoral College system holds together:

In the unanimous decision based on a Colorado case, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that nothing in the U.S. Constitution prevents states from punishing so-called faithless electors — members of the Electoral College who do not vote in accordance with the people of their state.

The decision comes four months before the next presidential election.

Colorado’s case concerned several electors who tried to vote for Republican John Kasich instead of Hillary Clinton — the state’s winner — in 2016 in an effort to keep Donald Trump from becoming president. One of the electors, Micheal Baca, was punished for his dissension.

Baca and his attorneys had argued the state had no power to punish members of the Electoral College, who are free agents with the power to vote for whomever they choose. When the case was argued before justices May 13, two questioned whether Baca could have voted for Frodo Baggins or a giraffe is he wanted to.

Former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams was severely exercised over the effrontery of Colorado’s “faithless electors,” and today’s decision certainly represents a vindication for Williams on this matter as well as his Democratic successor who agreed on the question of whether electors could be replaced, locked up, etc. if they refuse to carry out their sworn responsibility. A contagion of faithlessness that might have arisen after the practice was legitimized would have piled yet another destabilizing factor on an already very contentious election, so everyone who comes down on the order side of the essential order versus chaos debate can breathe a sigh of relief.

With that said, the unanimous decision to provide certainty to this one component of the Electoral College shouldn’t be interpreted as a unanimous endorsement of the entire undemocratic system, which delivered Donald Trump to the White House in 2016 despite losing the national popular vote by unprecedented millions. We’re still talking about the mechanics of a system meant to unequally weight the votes of supposedly equal Americans, and that system in a much more general sense is up for a vote this November in Colorado.

If “faithless electors” endanger democracy, let’s apply the same test to the Electoral College as a whole.

Americans Will Stop Worrying And Love The COVID?

Donald Trump.

According to the Washington Post, President Donald Trump’s strategy for managing the political fallout of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is now pretty rudimentary:

The goal is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus — that schools should reopen, professional sports should return, a vaccine is likely to arrive by the end of the year and the economy will continue to improve.

White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, [Pols emphasis] according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations. Americans will “live with the virus being a threat,” in the words of one of those people, a senior administration official.

There’s a time-honored validity to this assumption as horrifying as it may sound at first blush: much like America eventually became “numb” to Trump’s almost daily deluge of disqualifying statements and actions as President, the “hope” is that perhaps they’ll get to the same place of resignation about the pandemic’s death toll. For those keeping score, yes, that’s the same pandemic Trump assured us was over before it even began, and has now killed and infected more Americans than any other nation on Earth.

The strategy does work. At length, it does become difficult to find fresh words to describe the horror.

We can’t wait to hear what Sen. Cory Gardner thinks of this, knowing we most likely never will.

9-11 Conspiracy Group Hosting July 4th Festival in Denver’s Civic Center Park

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Image from We Are Change’s Facebook page

A conspiracy theorist group that insists the federal government planned the September 11th terrorist attacks is hosting an all-day Fourth of July music festival in Denver’s Civic Center Park.

We Are Change Colorado is the local affiliate of the national 9-11 “truther” group founded by alt-right conspiracy theorist Luke Rudkowski, who’s been promoting “New World Order” conspiracies for over a decade.

We Are Change founder Luke Rudkowski with Infowars’ Alex Jones

The messaging for the “Unite the People” festival combines the right-wing anti-government, anti-public health restriction rallies from April and May with the current Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police brutality.

As of Friday afternoon approximately 60 people had marked themselves as attending the event.

“The right-wing militants hit the capitol first because they wanted to reopen businesses, and then it was the protests over police brutality,” the artist said. “We live in a constant duality right now. I can’t speak to everyone’s views. For me, people can only appreciate each other from where they are themselves. There are still people out there who are asking for help, and for me, if people ask for help, we have to act.”

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The promotional image for the unpermitted event lists ten musical acts, including Brothers of Brass at 6:00 PM and DJ Cavem at 7:00 PM. Reached for comment, Brothers of Brass band member K.R. Azad says the promo image is incorrect and that the band is not performing at the event.

DJ Cavem, a Denver-based climate change and food justice activist, rapper and vegan chef, said he initially became involved in the event through people he met while participating in the Black Lives Matter protests in late May. He said there were lots of different views represented, and that his focus was connecting climate justice to racial justice and food justice, noting the health problems residents of neighborhoods like Elyria-Swansea and Globeville face from decades of industrial contamination that eventually led to the EPA designating the area part of a Superfund cleanup site.

Asked about the alt-right conspiracy theories promoted by We Are Change, DJ Cavem said he hadn’t been aware of any of the group’s specific beliefs, but he did acknowledge the divide between various groups involed in the protests. He said he felt called to focus on sharing a compassionate message without getting caught up in politics.

“The right-wing militants hit the capitol first because they wanted to reopen businesses, and then it was the protests over police brutality,” the artist said. “We live in a constant duality right now. I can’t speak to everyone’s views. For me, people can only appreciate each other from where they are themselves. There are still people out there who are asking for help, and for me, if people ask for help, we have to act.”

(more…)

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